September 11, 2010

Saturday Centus - 09/11/10 Living Eighty Miles from Impact

It's Saturday Centus, and today, Jenny Matlock has provided us with a 9/11 themed prompt. I was hesitant to write anything - not because I don't want to remember that day, but because I was sure that my words would remain an inadequate memorial to all that took place...and realizing that many other people have memories that are far more compelling than mine.

So I thought I'd just tell of what our life was like that day, in Pittsburgh.

As usual, the prompt appears in bold, below.

I slipped out of bed, home today, acting as mommy/nurse.

Shortly after nine, neighbor Jackie yelled, "Kim, turn on Channel 11! New York's been attacked!"

I stood frozen in front of the flickering images on my TV.  

"Mommy, can I watch cartoons in your room?" 

"Yes, stay in there." He's only six, too young to see this. 

I called our former babysitter, near Shanksville. She had been walking with her charges and wondered why that plane was flying so low.
The trolley outside my windows carried workers sent home, office buildings evacuated.

I saw fighter jets flying over...then silence, as all flights were grounded.

Fear. Disbelief. Anger. Grieving. Resolve.

Innocence and innocents, lost.

Shanksville site


  1. Understand your too...glad you was another thread in today's Centus fabric....

  2. Wow! I didn't realize you lived in Pittsburgh at that time. Your story is quite the opposite of inadequate. When all the air flights were grounded...that was one of the eeriest feelings I've ever had....Great writing usual!

  3. I had forgotten about the grounded flights. Thank you for sharing.~Ames

  4. great account. I was just outside Philadelphia at work in an office building that morning... and my husband is in the military. We were not allowed to leave work, but we sat all day glued to our radios listening and I called my husband to find the base was on lockdown and I didn't know if I could even get home. When they finally let us leave work, I drove home to the military base and it was soooo eerie... an beautiful blue day and not a soul was outside when usually children and families would be out walking and playing. They had all been ordered inside until further notice. It was truly a haunting day.

  5. I live about half way between Pittsburgh and Shanksville so I definitely recall the insanity of that day. Being so close everyone was worried our area may be targeted (my town also has a lot of industries with military contracts). Schools emptied. Businesses closed. And until you mentioned them, I had totally forgotten about the fighter jets flying overhead. I didn't see Flight 93, but others in the area reported seeing a very low flying plane.

  6. The ordinary became etched in our minds forever that day when everything ordinary slipped away.

  7. I am glad you wrote your post. It is also about an important part of this whole tragedy. My son wanted to watch the movie about Flight 93 today and I let him. I couldn't watch it. I spent my time looking at the site that you left as a comment on my SC-post for 9/11. Happily, I have not found my friend, Sylvia Dahlgren, anywhere on the list. Thank you for linking directly to the 'D's'. I have looked through the entire list from A-Z in case she would be listed under another/married name. What a relief. The next step is for me to leave a message with the university that I would like to get in touch with her.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to leave that site in my comment box!!

    I have spent the afternoon reading about what many of the victims were doing, what kind of life they had, even what plans they had for the future. People in their best and most active time of life. Such a waste.

    Thanks to the site you gave me I have not found anyone that I know personally. There may be 'friends of friends' but no one close.

    I can understand your hesitation in writing this text. I wanted to write fiction based on some facts, a fiction that still reflects the spirit of that day. But now that I have posted my little story, I feel that in one way it is not my story to tell, and yet in another way it belongs to all of us.

    Thank you for sharing your story and for visiting my post!
    Best wishes,

    For the benefit of other readers:
    Anna's SC-Remembering 9/11

  8. That must have been frightening living in Pennsylvania with the one plane going down there.

  9. Innocence and innocents. I like that.

    Must have been even more frightening being that close to the devastation.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  10. I'm still on the fence about whether to write this Saturday Centus or not. My first instinct was to run away from it ... but perhaps I should give it a try.

    And I do think people tend to "forget" about this particular plane and the one that hit the Pentagon sometimes.

  11. Thanks for showing us another side of 9/11. Every time I drive by Shanksville on the Turnpike I think of those brave, brave people.

  12. JFC, I thought and thought about these words you wrote 'but because I was sure that my words would remain an inadequate memorial to all that took place' and found myself incredibly moved by them.

    Your words were a memorial. They created community and a sense of solace in the shared memories...for me anyway.

    I think when bad things happen we often isolate, but sharing a broader emotion of the event has really opened my eyes to the fact that I will never, ever forget this world-changing tragedy.

    Thank you for linking.

  13. the fear and emotion of that day rings though all these posts. It has been as hard to read them as it was to write one - I suppose in a way it was good for us, but it was hard.

  14. AS I've commented on other post, it was a difficult prompt for those of us in the UK. You have captured what I imagine it must have felt like for you all.


Thanks for stopping by. I love your comments...I get all warm inside just reading them!